A state appeals court ruled Tuesday that leaving a child unattended in a car, even briefly, is abuse or neglect. The three-judge panel ruled against a mother of four, identified in court papers only by the pseudonym Eleanor, who left her sleeping, 19-month-old child strapped in a car seat while she bought supplies for a party at a South Plainfield mall in 2009.
Eleanor left the car running while she shopped for five to 10 minutes, court documents show. By the time she finished, the police had been alerted about the unattended child and arrested her at the Middlesex Mall.
“A parent invites substantial peril when leaving a child of such tender years alone in a motor vehicle that is out of the parent’s sight, no matter how briefly,” Judge Clarkson Fisher Jr. wrote for the appellate panel. Read more in Star Ledger.